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Brainerd Council awards bid for Hwy 210 pedestrian bridge study

The study will determine the feasibility of a pedestrian bridge across Highway 210 near Lum Park.

210 Pedestrian Bridge 2 010623.jpg
The segment of the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail near Lum Park in northeast Brainerd could be connected to a new segment on the other side of the highway through a proposed pedestrian bridge across Highway 210.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — The exploration of a pedestrian bridge across Highway 210 in Brainerd is underway.

City Council members approved a contract Tuesday, Jan. 3, with SRF Consulting Group to complete a feasibility study for the proposed bridge, which would serve as a connection for the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail.

Right now, the trail mainly connects the areas east of Brainerd, with some disconnected segments within Brainerd. It runs from Northwest Fourth Street and Laurel Street, across the Mississippi River, and includes segments along East River Road, College Drive, Oak Street, Norwood Street and Laurel Street. There is also a segment at the Northern Pacific Center.

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Another segment of the trail runs along the north side of Highway 210 from Fifth Avenue Northeast to Lum Park.

There are plans in the works and grants being sought to create connections for the trail within Brainerd and immediately east. Included in the last Minnesota State Legislative bonding bill was funding for a trail segment connecting the end at the Northern Pacific Center with the segment at 28th Street, the latter of which connects up to Highway 25. This year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to construct a trail segment between 28th Street and 10th Avenue Northeast as part of a bridge replacement project over the railway.

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The city of Brainerd applied for a Transportation Alternatives grant to build an additional trail segment along 10th Avenue Northeast between Highway 25 and Highway 210. The pedestrian bridge the city is exploring would ideally connect this new segment to the trail end at Lum Park. That’s the location city staff and officials prefer, but City Engineer/Public Works Director Jessie Dehn told the council the feasibility study will determine if that route could work or if the bridge would be better suited elsewhere.

210 pedestrian bridge graphic
A graphic illustrates the proposed location for a pedestrian bridge across Highway 210 near Lum Park to connect to other segments of the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail.
Graphic by Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The city received six proposals for the project, and staff evaluated them on several criteria, including project understanding, technical approach and work plan, qualification/experience and project cost. The top two proposals, Dehn said, came from SRF and WSB, and staff recommended choosing SRF at a cost of $34,585.30. The WSB proposal was $32,204. The city budgeted $35,000 of its COVID-19 relief funds for the study.

“While the WSB proposal was actually less cost, we had a couple more items in the SRF proposal that we thought would give us a little bit more service for the cost. It made them the better choice for the project,” Dehn said. “However, we feel that both firms would give us a considerable product.”

The council unanimously approved the proposal from SRF.

Council members Gabe Johnson and Tiffany Stenglein then volunteered to be part of the project management team for the feasibility study, on which Dehn said he would like one or two elected officials and a Parks Board member along with staff to ensure the vision of elected officials is included in the project.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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